Staying In Touch With Our Seniors

The Importance of Mental Health at Any Age

A happy mind is a healthy mind and is a key component to our overall well-being and quality of life. A big part of keeping our minds healthy is social interaction, especially for our senior population who may innately feel isolated or alone. But during a world-wide pandemic, where the term “social-distancing” has helped define 2020, keeping regular social interactions can often be anxiety- inducing and challenging. We’ve broken down some helpful tips and tools that one of our most susceptible groups can utilize, helping ensure quality of life is not lost during the COVID-19 era.

Stay Connected

Now more than ever, it is so important to keep in touch. You can even communicate with people near & far with the ease of electronics. Although we are encouraged to stay home (if possible), that doesn’t mean we tuck away the phone or our computers! With services such as FaceTime, we now have the ability to combine both a call with video! If you are a FaceTime pro, why not teach someone who isn’t as familiar with it, and give them a quick rundown of how it works? That way they can enjoy seeing their family and friends while communicating from a safe distance? If FaceTime is out of the question, you can always give someone a ring! Check in on them and see how they are doing, and really focus on listening.  Everyone loves to be heard, and sometimes just being there for someone else can bring you great joy and solace.

Another option is to grab a good old fashion pen and paper and write a letter to a loved one (who doesn’t love getting a hand written card in the mail?). Even starting a pen-pal conversation can give you something to look forward to each week.

And lastly, almost of us are connected to one another via social media. Why not send a sweet message to a relative or old friend, letting them know you are thinking of them. You never know, they may do the same next time, right when you’re in need of a friendly note or encouragement.

Get Involved

According to AARP, a simple way to reduce anxiety and the feeling of helplessness is to get involved in your community. There are many ways to do so, all from the comfort of your home, including Volunteering At Home By Transcribing Historical Documents (yes really).

Local Services Available

While these simple actions can make a huge difference in our everyday lives, for seniors who have withdrawn and/or are not as engaged in their normal day-to-day activities, there is help. Carson Tahoe Health’s Senior Pathways Program, part of its Behavioral Health Services, provides essential inpatient geriatric psychiatric treatment. Professionals with Carson Tahoe Health can also assist patients with anxiety and depression, communication skills, as well as coping skills through troubling times. Most insurances are accepted, including Medicare and Medicaid.

Another great service seniors in our area can utilize is the Meals on Wheels program. This amazing resource not only provides healthy meals (some fresh produce even coming from Carson Tahoe’s Foothill Garden), but can also provide a level of social interaction even when leaving home may seem impossible.